Two tutorials on how to make your own flat pack toy: Spoongraphics | Computer Arts
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About Paths in Illustrator | Layer & Placing a sketch | Tracing with the Pen tool | Making Symmetrical Objects | Using the ellipse tool | Creating Symmetrical Curves (like a mouth) | Turning lines into Shapes | Offset Paths for Dynamic Lines | Wrapping a Pattern around a circular path | Offset Path tool | PATHFINDER explained |
1. CHARACTER DESIGN:
First you need to conceptualize your character. Think of a story for your character, what do they do, what do they like and dislike, are they old young or in between, are they mean, happy, love struck, goofy, angry, do they have a short temper? You can even draw from your own life, basing your character on someone you know or even yourself.
Now that you have your character in mind, it is time to put your ideas on paper. You will start by sketching out ideas for your character and then you will scan your sketches into the computer. The main features that show expression and personality in a character are the eyes, eyebrows, and mouth. Focus on these features to really bring your character to life. Figure out which features of your character you want to accentuate and base your toy around them.
Once you have scanned your sketched it is time to ‘vectorize’ them, clean them up and make your character work as a cube.
1. In Illustrator create a new Letter size document in landscape orientation.
2. In a new layer names OUTLINE, make a simple box diagram. Use the rectangle tool to create a perfect square by holding down Shift while dragging. Then duplicate it six times by holding down Alt while dragging the original box.
3. If your character doesn't need a bottom because it will sit flat on the surface, you may delete the bottom square.
4. Put place holder text in corresponding squares to help you keep track of what’s what. (face, side, back, top, side)
5. Now alter the sides of the squares to better reflect the shape of your character. Make sure that opposite sides correspond in height and width. This means that the width of your sides needs to be the same as the height of the top square.
6. If you put arms on either side of the head, they will stick straight out when the top is folded down. They may look too long but bear in mind that once the template has been folded together, the only parts of the arms that will stick out are the areas that extend past the front of the torso. Make sure to label the arms.
7. An area equal to the width of the arms should be removed from the sides of the box, so the arms won’t overlap the other paper.
8. Lock Template Layer
3. SCAN and VECTOR-ize:
How to clean a scanned sketch in Photoshop and vector-ize it in Illustrator
How Trace a Sketch using the vector tools
1. Add 'sketch pieces to image into template in a new layer
3. In a new layer underneath the sketch add color.
3. Remove White fill from template and move to top layer.
4. Add tabs in new layer.
5. Print out and assemble, write directions as you go.
6 Add name of Character.
7. When totally complete print out one copy and leave it flat and assemble a copy of the toy VERY NEATLY! No tape on the outside, if that is not possible you probably need to add additional tabs.